Bruce Nilles

Bruce Nilles is the Deputy Conservation Director of the Sierra Club and former director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, the largest component of Sierra Club's new Climate Recovery Partnerships. The Beyond Coal Campaign is working to reduce America's over reliance on coal, slash coal's contribution to global warming and other pollution woes, end destructive mining, and secure massive investments in clean energy alternatives. Bruce joined the Sierra Club in 2002. He previously worked as a staff attorney for Earthjustice's San Francisco office, and during the Clinton Administration as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice's Environment and Natural Resources Division in Washington D.C. He received his J.D. and B.S. degrees from the University of Wisconsin.

EPA Takes Action to Protect People from Dangerous Coal Pollution

How’s this for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fulfilling its role to protect environmental and public health: On Tuesday, EPA proposed a rule that would prevent between 14,000 and 36,000 premature deaths annually. The Transport Rule would set stronger emissions standards for the dangerous air pollution emitted from coal-fired power plants in the eastern United States. This new rule would replace the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which had been struck down by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2008. While a thorough review and comment period remains to be completed, this is a positive …

Senator Robert Byrd: An Appreciation

This post was co-written by Mary Anne Hitt of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, who is also a native West Virginian. On September 21, 2006, grandfather and former coal miner Ed Wiley took the final steps of a 455-mile walk that began in the coalfields of West Virginia and ended in Washington, DC, at the office of Senator Robert Byrd. Ed had made his two-month, one-man pilgrimage to ask Senator Byrd to build a new school for the students of Marsh Fork Elementary, which is located immediately beneath an earthen dam holding back 2.8 billion gallons of coal sludge, …

Report: Coal Industry Harms TN and WV More Than It Helps

Two reports released this week reveal that when it comes to the bottom line of state budgets, the coal industry costs Tennessee and West Virginia more than it provides. These reports are among the first to examine actual revenues and expenditures related to coal industry employment, taxes and subsidies in Tennessee and West Virginia. Downstream Strategies produced the reports. For Tennessee (PDF), the report found that the coal industry contributed just over $1 million to the state budget – less than one-tenth of one percent of the state’s total revenue in 2009. That benefit was overwhelmed by the costs imposed …

Demand No More Coal, No More Oil This Independence Day

No surprise here, on the heels of President Obama’s Tuesday night speech, the coal industry front group — American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity — released a statement saying they agree with his call for a clean energy future: “The president also renewed his call for bolder action to create a clean energy future. We share the President’s commitment, and recognize the steps we take as a nation must balance America’s environmental, economic, and energy goals.” As we said in a post a few weeks ago, the coal industry is working harder to convince you that to address our oil …

Call Your Senators Now to Stop Big Coal, Big Oil in Murkowski Vote

Today will see a major vote in the U.S. Senate – one that could hugely benefit Big Oil and Big Coal if it passes. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will introduce her disapproval resolution that would block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from taking action to limit global warming pollution – even from the biggest polluters like coal plants and oil refineries. This resolution has been waiting for a vote for a while – I even wrote about back in March. But we still need your help in stopping it! Senator Murkowski’s amendment would block EPA from implementing existing and new …

Ohio Coal Plant Linked to $30m in Annual Economic Damage

This post was co-written by Nachy Kanfer, Associate Field Organizer for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in Ohio. We regularly dispute Big Coal when they say coal is not bad for the environment – now we have another example of how this dirty, outdated power source is costing jobs and damaging the economy in one state. The Sierra Club just co-released a report showing that the Bay Shore coal-fired power plant in Oregon, Ohio, causes nearly $30 million in damages to the state’s economy every year. The report, produced by Genter Consulting and co-released by the Western Lake Erie …

Coal: Good News, and An Opportunity for More

I’ve got two good news pieces this week – and one issue that needs your help. Last week our Michigan Chapter and everyone who loves clean air and clean energy got some great news when the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (MDNRE) denied a permit for the proposed Wolverine coal-fired power plant.We’re cheering the news – the DNRE decision states there is no need for the proposed power plant, in Rogers City, Michigan, and that alternative methods are available that would supply the customers of the four electric cooperatives that make up Wolverine with electricity at a …

Exposing the Financers of Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

This post was co-written by Mark Kresowik, Corporate Accountability and Finance Representative for the Sierra Club. The idea of corporate responsibility has come up repeatedly in recent weeks following the coal mine and oil disasters. That responsibility extends beyond profits to the health and well-being of our communities. By continuing to finance mountaintop removal coal mining these banks are throwing that responsibility aside. Many of us talk about the harm that coal companies are doing to people and the environment with mountaintop removal coal mining, but the blame is not just at Big Coal’s doorstep. It takes billions of dollars …

Oil Disaster Doesn't Mean We Should Switch to Other Dirty Fuels

This post was co-written by Kate Colarulli of the Sierra Club Dirty Fuels Campaign. As we’ve watched the Gulf Coast clean up from the massive BP oil disaster, besides BP picking up its own PR mission to improve its image, we’ve also noticed another disturbing PR campaign: the coal industry and the tar sands industry are both starting to use this disaster to tout the supposed “cleanliness” of their respective energy sources. There are more and more “clean” coal ads appearing alongside oil cleanup articles, and the tar sands (also known as oil sands) industry has already made the outrageous …